Interview: Chinese market "huge potential" for Ethiopian products: official

Source:Xinhua 2018-12-05

  ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- The growing demand for Ethiopia's major export commodities in China has presented a huge potential for Ethiopian producers and exports, Ethiopian official said on Tuesday.

  Assefa Mulugeta, Director General of Export promotion Department at the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Industry, told Xinhua on Tuesday that the Chinese market, which is one of the top importers of Ethiopian products, is still untapped with huge market potentials for Ethiopia's export commodities.

  "There is a huge potential to expand our market to China," Mulugeta told Xinhua.

  For example, China is an emerging country for coffee, said Mulugeta, adding that the Ethiopian government together with Ethiopian business community are looking for opportunities on how to penetrate in the vast Chinese market for Ethiopia's major export products.

  "We need to identify which area has a gap in terms of penetrating the potential market areas in China," he added.

  Mulugeta, who noted Ethiopia's positive experiences in the Chinese market for products such as sesame seed, also stressed the need to study other potential areas so as to benefit from the vast Chinese consumers base.

  China has been a major destination of Ethiopia's sesame export in the past decade, as about 70 percent of its total sesame export is going to China, according to figures from the Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices Processors-Exporters Association.

  According to Mulugeta, the Ethiopian government over the past years has been putting efforts towards penetrating the Chinese market, mainly through bilateral as well as regional and international events that were held in China as well as at home.

  The Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Industry, in a bid to create market linkage and look for opportunities that are available in China, had also earlier this month took part at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) that was held in Shanghai earlier this month.

  As Ethiopia currently aspires to further strengthen its exports, China has already proven to be one of the major export destinations for Ethiopian goods.

  Ethiopia, during the 2017-2018 fiscal year that ended on July 8, has already exported goods worth about 245 million U.S. dollars to China, according to data from the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Industry.

  Wondimu Filate, head of Public Relations and Communication Affairs Office of the ministry, told Xinhua recently that Ethiopia's exports to China has steadily increased with the help of bilateral and multilateral events such as the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

  Filate said that in addition to Ethiopia's benefiting from the export of its products to China, Chinese companies are also contributing to the export sector with their plants in Ethiopia.

  Chinese phone maker Transsion, which is known for two of its mobile brands in Ethiopia that are Tecno and Itel, last week marked a milestone of its presence in Ethiopia, clearing the mark of 100 million U.S. dollars in export of mobile phone products manufactured in its Ethiopian factories in the last two and half years.

  Transsion employs about 1,800 Ethiopians in its three local plants that produce around 1 million units annually.

  The achievement is seen in Ethiopia as a big step forward to fulfill the country's ambition of becoming a light manufacturing hub in Africa by 2025.

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